Olivia clinked her bottle against his and they drank. She cleared a spot on the table, set down her bottle, and opened the bakery bag. As she drew out the cannolis, Victor tore off two paper towels, making plates out of them.
They ate in silence, Victor studying her under half-lidded eyes. She was sultry and beautiful. In direct contrast to the sunny tank top, she wore a flannel shirt with the sleeves rolled up to the elbows. She looked like the sexiest home-improvement contractor he’d ever seen.
She caught him staring at her ample cleavage and smirked as she licked cream from one end of the cannoli. Teasing him.
That was all it took. He remembered the feel of her tongue on him, those lips scorching every bit of skin they’d touched. In that instant, his mind went back to the night and all they had shared. He had no doubt that was her intention as she slowly bit into the pastry and grinned wider as she chewed.
Taz sat patiently at her feet, his big tongue hanging out the corner of his mouth. He’d been part of a dog fighting ring and had lost teeth before being rescued when Victor and his team had slipped in to arrest several of the participants. If there was one thing Victor hated, it was bullies and those who hurt others, human or animal alike. He’d made sure the dozen dogs in the ring received proper medical care and were taken to a no-kill shelter. Once Taz was on his feet again, the shelter’s manager asked him to foster the dog, who needed to work on his people skills and manners in order to be a better candidate for adoption.
Taz was obviously becoming quite adept at his people skills since he gave Olivia his pleading puppy dog eyes, hoping for his own cannoli. A tiny bit of drool ran out the side of his mouth onto the floor.
Watching Olivia, Victor figured he wasn’t much different, although he hoped for something more than a bite of cannoli. Finishing off the pastry, he checked the corners of his mouth to see if he had been drooling himself. Maybe a little.
“So what color do you suggest for the kitchen?” he asked, trying to get his big brain back online.
“Hmm.” She glanced around, slipping the dog a piece of her cannoli. “Pumpkin, maybe, or squash.”
“Are we talking paint or food?”
“Both. The woodwork in the house is really beautiful. In here, with the lighter fir trim around the windows and on the cabinets, I think the best colors would be in the warm, fall category.”
She licked the ends of her fingers and toyed with her beer bottle.
Once again, the brain in his head had trouble focusing as the blood ran south. “Well, I don’t have either of those paint colors, nor do I have anything fiery for the living room.”
“Guess that just leaves us one option, doesn’t it?” she asked, her dark eyes teasing.
Please, God, let her be thinking what I hope she’s thinking.
One of the things he’d loved about Liv from the start was the fact she didn’t beat around the bush. While she didn’t always come right out and say what was on her mind, he seemed to be able to read it anyway.
She had a few crumbs on her tank top. He leaned forward and teased them off the fabric, letting his fingertips brush against the bare skin mounding up above the soft cotton. “You seem to be the expert,” he said, tipping his face closer to hers. “So unless we’re making a trip to the hardware store, it looks like we are painting my bedroom this afternoon.”
At his touch, she hitched her breath, those piercing eyes now searching his face. He caught the scent of beer and chocolate on her breath. “Do you have all the tools you need?”
I have you.“Maybe you should check my toolbox and see.”
“That’s a terrible pickup line.” She laughed, low and sexy. “Totally cheesy.”
“I never was good at them.”
She kissed him then, letting her tongue outline his lips. “I don’t work for free, you know. I expect dinner in exchange.”
Holy hell, he’d give her anything she wanted. “Is that all?”
“Where’s the bedroom?” She grabbed his hand and dragged him out of the kitchen and toward the stairs. “Dinner is only the beginning, polpetto.”
“I love it when you speak Italian,” he said, following her up the steps to the bedroom loft. “What does that mean?”
Meatball? What the…? “Seriously?”
She laughed and yanked him into the bedroom where they collapsed onto the mattress lying on the floor. He hadn’t set up the headboard and rails yet. “Trust me,” she said, as she threw off her flannel shirt and went to work on his belt. “It’s a term of endearment. There’s not much we Italians love more than a good meatball.”
God, this woman. He’d barely known her a few months, but there was no doubt in his mind, he was totally head over heels for her. Just gone.
Helping her get her tank top off before he pulled her down beside him, he once again realized perfection was a moving target.
And right now that target was a beautiful US deputy marshal who had her hand down his pants.